Podcasting gains important foothold in U.S.; Podcasters most likely to be young, Apple fans

Nielsen//NetRatings announced today that 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have recently downloaded an audio podcast; 4.0 percent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast. These figures put the podcasting population on a par with those who publish blogs, 4.8 percent, and online daters, 3.9 percent. However, podcasting is not yet nearly as popular as viewing and paying bills online, 51.6 percent, or online job hunting, 24.6 percent.

Podcasting is a relatively new technology that enables users to quickly and easily download multimedia files, including audio and video, for playback on mobile devices including iPods and other MP3 players, as well as cell phones.

“The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young, on-the-go audiences,” said Michael Lanz, analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings, in the press release. “We can expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate,” he continued.

As is often typical with new technologies, young people are more likely than their older counterparts to engage in audio or video podcasting. Web users between the ages 18 and 24 are nearly twice as likely as the average Web user to download audio podcasts, followed by users in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, who were also more likely than the average Web user to download audio podcasting. Video podcast viewers trended a little older, with 25-34 year olds indexing the highest. Web users above the age of 45 were less likely than average to engage in podcasts of either sort.

Since the popularity of Apple’s iPod is largely responsible for the spread of podcasting, not surprisingly podcast listeners/viewers enjoy using Apple products and visiting Apple Web sites. For example, audio and video podcast listeners/viewers are over three times as likely as the average Web user to use Apple’s Safari as their primary Internet browser.

Among audio podcast listeners, Macworld is the No. 1 most-visited content site, with a composition index of 606. Apple and iTunes are the No. 2 and 3 e-commerce sites visited by audio podcast listeners, with composition indexes of 455 and 396, respectively. The Apple connection is not as clear for video podcast viewers, who flock to Startrek.com among content sites, with an index of 864. Live365.com and eMusic are the two most popular ecommerce sites for video podcast viewers, with indexes of 730 and 656, respectively.

“Competitors to the iPod are now in the marketplace, but Apple got a big head start,” said Lanz. “It will take time before other portable media players make significant in-roads with the early-adopters who are currently
podcasting,” he continued.

Tables showing data can be found in the PDF file linked to below:
• Market Size Estimation of Audio and Video Podcast listeners/viewers
• Composition Index according to Age Group among Audio and Video listeners/viewers
• Primary Internet Browsers among Audio and Video listeners/viewers
• Top Content and E-Commerce Sites Visited by listeners/viewers
• Top 10 Advertisers by Estimated Spending

Full article (.pdf) here.
That’s “podcast,” folks. Not “zencast,” “sansacast,” or “zunecast.”

[UPDATED:11:07am EDT: Changed Nielsen//NetRatings “podcasters” term to podcast listener/viewer in spots for clarity. Thanks, Spark.]

Related articles:
Apple to accept podcast ads on iTunes – April 24, 2006
Rush Limbaugh and Apple Computer to intro new podcast service via iTunes – March 08, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle: GarageBand 3 has by far the most extensive package of podcasting features – January 30, 2006
Review: Apple’s iWeb software perfect for publishing photos, movies, podcasting, simple blogging – January 28, 2006
Don’t call them podcasts! Derivative, er, Creative introduces ZenCast app for ‘audio & video blogs’ – January 04, 2006
New Oxford American Dictionary announces Word of the Year: ‘Podcast’ – December 06, 2005
Study: Apple iTunes to drive podcasting to hit critical mass by 2010 – November 14, 2005
Apple’s iTunes passes 7 million podcast signups mark, now offers 15,000 free podcasts – October 10, 2005
President Bush’s weekly radio address podcasts available via Apple’s iTunes Music Store – August 11, 2005
‘Podcast’ added to Oxford Dictionary, now officially part of English language – August 10, 2005
NY Times: Apple has just mainstreamed podcasting and put another feather iPod’s cap – July 28, 2005
Microsoft employees squeamish about ‘podcast’ term, try using ‘blogcast’ instead – July 11, 2005
Lance Armstrong to podcast daily during Tour de France – July 01, 2005
Apple iTunes podcast subscriptions top one million in first two days – June 30, 2005
Apple releases iTunes 4.9 for Mac and Windows with podcasting features – June 28, 2005


  1. The author seems to be using the term “podcaster” to describe those that listen to, or view, podcasts. The term “podcaster” should be reserved for those that produce the content. The author should have referred to “podcast listeners” or “podcast viewers” in most places within the article where “podcaster” is used.

  2. One of the big signs that podcasting has really taken off, for me, is that during the world cup The Times newspaper here in the UK did one with Baddiel & Skinner. Baddiel & Skinner are famous comedians, big names. They’ve done stand-up and TV, including shows on ITV1 (the commercial equivelant to BBC1) plus they had a number 1 single which has been in the charts 3 or 4 times now. They basically just talked about football but they were sponsored by Dodge and gave away a car as a prize.

    It was done on a low-key basis in their hotel rooms but they had a producer, but the main thing for me is that relatively mainstream names are doing them and getting sponsorship from large companies at the same time.

    A good sign for Apple as well was that it was in AAC as opposed to mp3.

  3. I was listening to NPR News on the radio on the drive home from work yesterday and the host said their program was also available as a “blogcast”(!!!). I don’t remember them (NPR) ever using that term in the past. Microsoft must have written them a check recently! I simultaneously felt like laughing and puking!

  4. I would have thought a blogcast would be a spoken version of the content from a blog. As a replacement for podcast it makes little sense – less so than even mp3cast, zencast, etc – since if the content isn’t on or from a blog it’s not relevant.

  5. It’s IEEE 1394. Sony calls it iLink. Who knows what else anyone else call it. Last week at a Best Buy, I asked for a firewire cord, the blue shirt dude said he never heard of it unless you mentioned the mikrosuck named version.

  6. “I was listening to NPR News on the radio…simultaneously felt like laughing and puking!”

    Hey, small world! Whenever I listen to NPR, I also feel like simultaneously laughing and puking! I mean, all things considered…

  7. Did you see the report on browser breakdown? OMG Safari is #1 and waaaay ahead of Internet Explorer.

    What’s going on here?

    I didn’t think the platform breakdown for iPods or iTunes was even that favored to Macintosh.

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